Title: Very Bad ThingsAuthor: Susan McBride
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.
Amongst all the underwhelming mysteries I've read lately, Very Bad Things was a pleasant surprise!
The story starts off with our main character, Katie, in the library dozing off. Suddenly she feels like she’s being watched, and when she turns around she finds this single rose. To give a bit of background, Katie has recently been having these very realistic nightmares where she gets the overwhelming sensation that she’s being watched and always wakes up to the smell of roses. How creepy is that?
While the book itself is pretty short, the story did take a while to unravel parts of the mystery. Not that that's a huge complaint because it’s slow and juicy and every piece of information is a vital one. Pull out your notepads because you’re going to want to be taking notes while you read. The characters each have their certain weird factor that keeps you doubting them until the end and the multiple POVs add to this. Different points of views can be tricky because the voices can melt together, but Susan McBride did an excellent job distinguishing her character's voices. There is no "good" character or "bad" character. Each one had their questionable moments and I think that's realistic. As a reader, I got frustrated with some, laughed along with others, and felt all the feels near the end. Obviously they weren’t the most detailed characters since Very Bad Things is just under 250 pages, but they were just the right amount of developed for such a short story.
The blurb on the back of the book was kind of the reason I picked this one up prematurely. I wasn’t planning on reading Very Bad Things but that blurb called out to me, so of course I’m going to include a snippet so everyone else gets as hooked as I was by it.
Katie set the package on the floor and pried off the twine. There was no note, just something rolled up in yellowed paper. Something that smelled rank enough to make her hold her breath as she began to unwrap it. Toward the end, the paper unrolled all by itself and dumped the contents between her feet. Plop. "Oh, my God," she whispered when she saw what it was.
Doesn’t that make you want to pick this up? If not, then maybe the fact that the mystery was so different from what’s typically out there, will. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I’m pretty good at guessing the twist before the big reveal. To be honest, I did have my suspicions in Very Bad Things, but it’s such a different take on young adult mystery that I doubted myself until halfway through the book when things started coming together. That was the final deciding factor between 3 and 4 stars. I obviously don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that the psychology major within was very interested in what was going on. The fact that this book took something I read so often, and churned out something refreshing, made it a pleasure to read. It was just the right amount of eerie, at the right pace, with the right mystery elements. I wouldn’t say you’ll be sleeping with the light on after reading it, but you’ll be thinking about the characters in Very Bad Things (some more than others) for days after putting it down.
Nothing too scary, but definitely some creepy scenes. I suggest this to mystery fans that can't deal with too much gore or horror. Perfect for this time of year.